Why I Switched to a Korean Skincare Regime

This is somewhat of an embarrassing confession, since I am a qualified beauty therapist, but I have always struggled with my skin. As a child, it was eczema/psoriasis, worsened by wearing certain fabrics and dry Adelaide winters, and then it was acne. Like, really bad, teased for, bright red against super pale skin, acne. I know now it was because of hormonal issues like Hashimotos/PCOS, but I had no way of knowing that when I first started to experience problems.

When I was 11, I was prescribed an antibiotic for my acne, every day, twice a day, for about 4 years. Every time I went back to the dermatologist who brushed off my concerns, I was too shy to speak up for myself (something I still struggle with), and so I stayed on them. It utterly ruined my digestive and immune system and after a while I started to experience a whole lot of problems due to that, which I’m still trying to fix. If you’re wondering, it didn’t help my skin. At all.

That’s not what I’m writing about, though. What I’ve finally realised is that my skin never changed, really. It was always sensitive and dry, but the products I was using were dehydrating my skin and causing it to overproduce oil, hence the congestion. I thought: more oil? Need to cleanse more/deeper/harsher, right? Nope. That is a one-way ticket to dehydrating your skin, causing it to over-produce oil to counteract it.

In the past couple of years, as I experimented more with skincare and makeup, I found that I was reacting quite badly to certain exfoliants or changes in weather and diet, the most recent of which was entirely my fault, but I ended up having what seemed like an ‘opposite t-zone’: super dry t-zone, with normal skin on the rest of my face, where it was sucking up all moisture, including barrier creams, no matter how many layers I put on, while continuing to be flaky and painful. What??!! *insert Dali’s scream face here*

There are only two things that helped: remembering that I know what is best for myself, and Asian skincare – Korean in particular.

When I first heard about Korean skincare, I was like; “Tch, that’s way too many products, your skin won’t even notice the difference between one moisturiser and three/a serum/mask/sleeping pack”. BUT IT DOES!!! I cannot live without the products I’ve found, and steps I’ve started to take, and I was lucky enough (after doing much research) to find exactly what I needed on my first try.

Korean skincare, and asian skincare in general, seems to be a world ahead of their western counterparts, and it’s because they address specific skincare concerns, instead of a more general approach that has been typical in the west (although they are catching up – mostly by copying asian skincare trends). From demanding the best ingredients, to the least amount of irritation, sun protection, anti-ageing, etc, it takes a holistic philosophy. While there are specific concerns to be remedied, it’s a process that incorporates diet, sleep, overall health and wellbeing, in tandem with the actual products and usage. It’s all in the same vein of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Confucianism – prevention is better than the cure, and honouring your parents by taking care of your body, and something that was beaten into me studying beauty: it’s all about what you do everyday.

If you keep up good skincare habits everyday, or dietary habits or exercise habits, you can afford to skip this or that once in a while, or eat that doughnut *_* or whatever else. Likewise, it’s not about getting some fillers or botox after you’ve already developed lines – if you rely on quick fixes rather than a lifestyle you choose every day, no matter how much you pay for those ‘miracle cures’ for whatever issue, you’ll invariably have more to keep nipping and tucking, whereas someone who does keep up a daily habit suited to them will be able to achieve a much better outcome combining the two.

As always though: whatever works! If you find the most basic bar soap and water works for you, that’s fine! If you’re happy, you don’t need to change.

When I visited Japan in Winter, 2016, my skin freaked out, and the products I was half-heartedly using did not help. I know, I know, I should know better. In my defence, I don’t have a lot of energy at the best of times dealing with chronic illness, let alone being non-stop for two weeks in dry-ass winter weather, having packed no suitable clothes from my sub-tropical homebase. It took me over a month to get my skin to calm down upon returning, and I learned a very important lesson: to pay attention to my skin and my body, and not just keep blindly following something that worked for me in a different time or situation.

Photo one: Terrible, but it was the only one that illustrated what I’m talking about. Can you see the fine lines? What the heck?! I don’t even have them – they are literally just from dehydration O_O

Photo two: After using a more suitable regime and products for my skin concerns

I’ll be doing a series of posts on the regime I follow and the products I use and would recommend. My ultimate goal is yuri pibu: a Korean term for ‘glass skin’, or skin so clear and glowy it’s like glass, so that I never have to wear makeup again muahahah! One of the many things I’ve been discovering recently – I really hate the feel of makeup on my skin these days. I’m all about the long-term instead of quick fixes – and having limited energy, the less I have to do to get ready in the mornings, the better!

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time but life (surgery, recovery, school, holidays and work) have gotten in the way. So, stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Lola xo

How I repaired my damaged, fine hair

I’m always itching to try out new things, to the detriment of my own skin and hair sometimes, and dyeing my hair is just one of the things I’ve done since I was about 13. I’ve had: white, black, dark brown, light brown, platinum blonde, ashy blonde, balayage, highlights, dark red, orangey-red, light pink, blonde with neon pink tips

and natural…Which I realised actually turned its own natural dark to light blonde balayage anyway?! The weirdest thing is, I was born with dark red hair, which went platinum blonde, while my eyes went from bright blue to grey…

After not doing anything to my hair for about 2 years, my fingers finally got itchy enough that I decided to dye it chocolatey brown. Big mistake. It went ratty, the ends became so split, I could entertain myself for hours picking at them, frizzy, and just all around craptastic. It doesn’t help that I apparently had a parasite for over 10 years so I couldn’t absorb B vitamins?!?! (That’s another horrifying story O_O)

My lifelong dream has been to have the longest hair possible (when I was little I thought I could grow it all the way down the street and trip my enemies when they stepped on it…erm..yeah), so I’ve always been averse to trimming it. I thought; ‘at least it’ll be long, even if it’s not the best quality, right?’ Or not. I’ve finally realised, though, that I feel best when I feel healthy, and my hair feels and looks best when it’s healthy. I’m so obsessed with my hair now because it’s so silky soft and shiny. (Yes I sound narcissistic but I earned this, okay? A lifetime of embarrassing hair fails means I’m allowed)

So if you’re like me, and you want to be a cotton candy fairy pink unicorn mermaid, then try these tips out – some of them at least you can do while still being able to maintain changing colour. Otherwise, try them out and then start your hair colour journey to paradise:

  1. No more colour! This one was admittedly hard for me to follow, because I just hate looking and feeling unkempt, and if you have light hair, regrowth is super noticeable. If you have darker hair and you can get away with it, great! Skip to the next step. Personally, I had to do a last ditch effort because I gave up, so I bought some dye that was as close to my natural shade as possible, and combed it with a really thin comb from my demarcation line (regrowth) through to the mid-lengths, sometimes the ends. If it sounds risky, it is, and you should definitely get a professional to do this, or at least have some help, lest you end up with a giant blotch 3/4s down, like me. But! No one else seemed to notice that, and it’s blended out better than I even hoped for (and I have a pretty bad track record thanks to my hair-impulse history), so now my hair actually looks like it’s a natural balayage, or just naturally lighter tips because of how gradual the change is. Great success!
  2. No more heat! Ok, when I say no heat, I haven’t completely given up heat tools. You can try to pry my straightener from my arthritic fingers!! But I absolutely never blowdry or curl my hair. The one time I did, I could feel the difference immediately. My hair was like actual straw, as in, it actually made rustling, snapping noises, and it took weeks to regain some semblance of normalcy. Now, I find that I only need to straighten my hair once or twice a week (it’s usually wavy almost to the point of cool curliness, until it all drops, where it just looks gross and messy), which is great if you’re lazy or don’t have the energy. Beforehand, it would go weird and crimpy within a day, if not frizzy, whereas now, I barely even need to quickly run the straightener through.
  3. Trim. Your dang. Hair. This is so hard for me, but in the end, again, I did it myself! I found a suitable youtube tutorial for my hair type (I have a lot of hair, but it’s fine) and just trimmed a little bit to get rid of the split ends. If you don’t do this, the split can travel up the hair shaft and cause more weakness and damage. So basically, you’ll NEVER have long hair!
  4. Use products that work. I try to stay away from products with a lot of silicone (look for dimethicone in the ingredient list) or sulphates and parabens, but as with everything, if it works, it works. I love the Joico K-Pak range, especially the reconstructor and intense hydrator, and use them every time I wash my hair, which is every 2-3 days. They make a huge difference in the quality, and I notice that my hair dries a lot faster. This is important because it shows that it’s not holding onto moisture due to damage. Otherwise, I use coconut oil or a random one-off mask (since I love trying new things to review) once a week if I feel I need it for an hour or so before shampooing, and then wash it out. BTW, it’s not just me – everytime there’s a sale at Priceline, these guys are sold out ASAP. I literally had to go to three different stores to find the last one of each.
  5. Rinse with cold water. This ‘seals’ the cuticle, kind of like how you want your pores to close up after you’ve finished washing your face. It helps reduce frizz, and actually feels really nice and refreshing after the temperature gets up to uncomfortable levels during your shower (hey, I didn’t say it would be a quick process!)
  6. Use a scrunchie. Despite 90s style coming back in, I still feel lame using a scrunchie, but the satin cover ensures your hair doesn’t get snagged and snap like some other hair ties. I find if my hair isn’t 100% dry (usually prime-time for frizz) I can put it up in a high ponytail and it will somehow smooth it out like, 70%, by the time I let my hair down again. It’s good in times of low energy or when you’re in a hurry. I also sleep with one sometimes – if you do this, make sure it’s up out of the way so your hair doesn’t catch on anything while you’re tossing & turning (or not, if you somehow have restful sleep like a crazy person?!)

Anyway, those are my tips! It does take a while, but it’s 1000x better than going around with frizzy, lacklustre hair, and it’s worked for me! Next step: better my B vitamin intake so I can actually get enemy-tripping growth muahahaha!

Oohh PS: don’t get extensions!! I’ve tried micro-beads, clip-ins and tape – they all have one thing in common: they wrecked my hair. The more permanent ones were so disgusting – itchy, gluey, and I wanted to shave my head by the time I got them out, my hair was in that bad condition.The amount of time they took day-to-day also was just exhausting. Never again!!

now

xo Lo